Kerr-McGee's acquisition by Anadarko Petroleum Corp. presents
Oklahoma with an opportunity as well as a challenge, says Denise
Bode, vice chairman of the Oklahoma Corporation Commission.
Bode, who is running for Congress, said Friday she understands
Anadarko officials have wanted to change their focus from the
international sector to America.
Their emphasis is going to be on deep water - which is one of
Kerr-McGee's areas of expertise - unconventional gas and the
Rockies, Bode said an Anadarko official told her in a recent phone
She said Western Gas Resources, also acquired by Anadarko, is one
of the key players in the Powder River Basin in Wyoming.
An Anadarko official said the merger may make Anadarko the
largest independent producer in the country, Bode added.
A former president of the Independent Petroleum Association of
America, she said that in her experience with Anadarko, they have
They're a very good E&P (exploration and production) company, she
added. It's quite a compliment, I think, to have the Kerr-McGee
asset be part of their company.
Bode said she made clear during the call that she wants Anadarko
to increase its presence in Oklahoma.
She was told that Anadarko started looking at the Kerr-McGee
acquisition only about six weeks ago, and doubts whether company
officers have decided exactly what they will do with employees.
The purpose of my call was to encourage the Oklahoma presence to
grow, said Bode, who offered to talk to appropriate officials about
what the state can do to encourage that.
Bode said Anadarko already has a considerable exploration and
production presence in Oklahoma.
I think it depends on how hard we work to encourage and to
demonstrate why Oklahoma needs to be one of their key players in
their family - if they're refocusing into America, why we should be
a good place to do business, she said.
Bode said Anadarko is also impressed with the quality and
experience of Kerr-McGee employees.
Bode said the state should take steps to encourage relocation of
Anadarko employees to Oklahoma to work on unconventional gas and the
other areas on which Anadarko is now focusing.
Oklahoma should change its tax code so that opinion leaders of
such companies want to have their employees here, she said.
Bode said that should include eliminating the income tax,
adopting true tort reform and other state and local steps.
We need to turn things around, so that we don't lose any more
corporate headquarters, she said. This is another wake-up call, that
Oklahoma needs to change our wicked ways to encourage people to come
Bode said the Anadarko move could be an opportunity to reach out
and prompt the now much-larger company to locate more employees
here, given Kerr-McGee's relatively small employee base in Oklahoma
It really is a good company, and they've made Kerr-McGee one of
their gems, she said.
Amy Polonchek, interim executive director of the Oklahoma
Department of Commerce, said there is much that is still unknown
about the merger and what it will mean to Kerr-McGee's Oklahoma City